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tv   Democracy Now  LINKTV  October 8, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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10/08/12 10/08/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from durango, colorado, this is "democracy now!" >> for us it is indigenous peoples day. the first to be contacted by columbus to be impacted by the colonial machines that was set in motion after that initial
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contact, we're here to said that columbus is not a day. we're here to join with other people's voices in sanger needs to be an end to the cycle of colonialism. >> reconsider, stay. as a nation commemorates the arrival of christopher columbus to the so-called new world in 1492, students and professors at fort lewis college in durango, colorado, are pushing for the teaching of the real history of the americas. we will be joined by a round table, then dennis banks, the legendary native american activist and co-founder of the american indian movement. >> there is a complete massacre of an entire village and community and human beings, whole tribes were wiped out. that is how i view genocide. >> all of that and more coming up.
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this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we're on the road at fort lewis, .ewis college credit a venezuelan president hugo chávez has won his fourth presidential election. he took 54% of the boat. in a race widely seen as china's strongest challenge since his first victory in 1998. out of the presidential palace, chavez reached out to the political opposition and called for unity among venezuelans. >> i send my words of recognition to all of those who voted against us. i send out a special recognition to a democratic challenge for your participation, to the civic
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demonstrations you have given today despite not agreeing with [indiscernible] i invite you to debate and to the joint work for bolivia and venezuela. >> in his concession speech, capriles urged hugo chávez to recognize the voices of those who voted against him. >> i hope a political movement that has been in power for 14 years understand that almost half the country does not agree with it. i ask those who remain in power for respect and consideration and recognition of almost half the country. >> thousands of protesters
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marched in pakistan over the weekend to protest the ongoing u.s. drone strikes. on sunday, the pakistani government blocked the march from entering the tribal area of south waziristan, a frequent target of drone attacks. addressing the march, pakistan and political leader imran khan said the drone strikes are fostering hatred of the united states. >> these drone attacks are a violation of international law. these drone attacks are a violation of the human rights of the pakistani people. do we all condemn them? we want to send a message to america, the more drone attacks to carry out, the more the people will grow to hate you and raise their arms against you. our tribal people will not be scared off with drone attacks.
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>> more than 30 u.s. citizens with the group codepink traveled to pakistan to take part in the march and meet with drone strike victims. >> the illegal, immoral, a brutal attacks on the innocent people of waziristan and the fatah region must in now. these are illegal drone strikes carried out by cia. cia is a civilian organization using military equipment rid this is a war crime. >> they are illegal. they are against international law. they invade the sovereignty of pakistan and they are not productive. >> an u.s. protest held in solidarity with the march in pakistan, 10 people were arrested on friday at the hancock field air national guard base in new york. members of the upstate coalition to ground the drones and into the wars stood in front of the base's gate, holding signs and blocking entry. shortly before he was arrested,
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protester jack elway said demonstrators hoped to hold up the piloting of the drones that takes place at the base, perhaps sparing the lives of civilians overseas. >> we're hoping by being here, maybe we will hold up one of these pilots for an hour or two, and perhaps that may be saving the family from being destroyed in pakistan or somewhere else. >> new job figures released friday show the u.s. unemployment rate has fallen to 7.8%, the lowest point to date since president obama took office. employers added 114,000 workers in september, and revised figures showed employment gains in previous months were higher than previously thought. the number marked a boost to president obama's reelection bid in the aftermath of his widely criticized debate performance last week. addressing supporters of the university of virginia, obama said the country has come too
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far to turn back. >> more people are getting jobs. every month reminds us we still have too many friends and neighbors who are looking for work, and to many middle-class families are struggling to pay the bills. they were struggling long before the crisis hit. but today's news certainly is not an excuse to try to talk down the economy to score a few political points. it is a reminder this country has come too far to turn back now. >> also campaigning in virginia, republican challenger mitt romney downplayed the new figures. >> this cannot go on. when i am president of the united states, when i am president of the united states -- [applause] that unemployment rate is going to come down not because people are giving up and dropping out
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of the work force, but because we are creating more jobs. i will create jobs to get america working again. >> president obama's reelection campaign has announced it to get a record $181 million in september, its largest monthly total to date. the vast majority came from donations of $250 or less. at a fund-raiser in los angeles on sunday, president obama mocked romney for vowing to cut funding to pbs. >> when he was asked what he would do to cut spending, he said he would go after public television. so for all of you moms and kids out there, don't worry, someone is finally cracking down on big bird. elmo has made a run for the border. governor romney plans to let wall street run wild again, but
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he is bringing the hammer down on "says mystery." >> five alleged backers about, have been extradited to the u.s. from britain after long-running legal battles. muslim cleric, abu hamza al- masri, and watch others arrived after the european court of human rights rejected their appeals. he's been years in prison in britain on a conviction of inciting racial hatred and soliciting murder. a federal grand jury indicted him in 2004 on allegations of supporting al qaeda and aiding a fatal kidnapping in yemen. his lawyers had appealed his a extradition to the u.s. by citing european statutes barring inhumane and degrading treatment. two others were arrested after the 1998 u.s. embassy bombings in north africa and had fought extradition since. the other two have been indicted on charges of supplying material to islamic militants in chechnya and to the taliban. babar ahmade two,
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is a british citizen. his supporters had waged a long campaign criticizing u.s.- britain extradition treaty and calling for him to be tried on british soil. violence is raging in cities across syria as rebel fighters clash with regime of syrian president bashar al-assad. attacks and homs has increased. ariel and ground attacks have been reported on aleppo, while a bombing at the police headquarters in damascus left one officer dead. tens of thousands of people took to the streets in cities across spain on sunday and a lettuce-to protest against governor -- government-oppose austerity. union leaders have warned of a potential general strike to the spanish government continue to cut public spending. thousands of people have rallied
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in guatemala over the killings of six indigenous protesters who were shot dead last week. the victims were taking part in a road blockade to oppose living costs and educational policies when government forces opened fire. another 24 -- 34 people were wounded. thousands of workers staged a one-day strike on friday at the foxconn factory in china known for poorly treating workers who help make apple products such as the iphone. the group china labor watch says up to 4000 foxconn workers walked off the job in protest of new employee demands including working through a holiday that began last week. foxconn initially denied that a strike was taking place, but later said the dispute had been resolved. workers at a walmart supply warehouse in elwood, illinois are returning to work after a three-week strike. the workers walked off the job last month amidst allegations of
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sexual harassment, dangerous working conditions, unpaid wages, and retaliation against organizers. managers reportedly fired several leaders and threatened others after they delivered a petition. the workers say they have won pledges to end work is retaliation and will be given their full wages for the time they were on strike. the strike in illinois was followed by similar actions at walmart supply warehouses in california and florida workers demanding fairer workplace conditions. a buffalo man has won the right to sue the manufacturer, distributor, and dealer of the pistol used to shoot him nearly a decade ago. daniel williams was a high school basketball star when he was shot and badly wounded in 2003. on friday, a new york state court ruled williams can take legal action against the ohio- based weapons manufacturer beemiller and distributor mks
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supply for knowingly selling weapons to irresponsible dealers. the dealer who purchased the guns in williams' case is a convicted felon who was barred from buying weapons. in a statement, the british campaign to prevent gun violence said -- -- the brady campaign to prevent gun violence said, -- an unarmed 22-year-old hispanic american man has been shot dead by new york city police. noel polanco was driving on the grand central parkway in queens when police approached him at a traffic stop. police say polanco was shot after reaching for something in his vehicle, but a witness says his hands remained on the steering wheel the entire time. polanco was an army national guardsmen who had hoped one day join the police force. he was traveling with an off-
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duty police officer when he was killed. on sunday, dozens of people rallied outside new york police headquarters to protest the shooting of another unarmed person of color. mohamed bah was shot dead inside his harlem apartment last month after reportedly lunging at police with a knife. those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting today from fort lewis college. today marks columbus day, a federal holiday to commemorate the arrival of christopher columbus to the so-called new world in 1492. but the holiday has long evoked sadness and anger amongst people of color, especially native americans, who object honoring a man who opened the door to european colonization, the exploitation of native peoples, and the slave trade. instead, they're calling people to reconsider columbus day by
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acknowledging the genocide of indigenous peoples and celebrating native american traditions. >> columbus day. >> today our government has deemed worthy of remembrance. >> with all due respect. >> with all due respect. >> the truth has been overlooked. >> for way too long. >> columbus committed heinous crimes. >> columbus set the stage for the slave trade in the new world. >> please reconsider. >> if this is a man you want to honor. >> reconsider if you want to celebrate the crimes of columbus. >> it happened a long time ago. >> a remaining neutral. >> pretending it did not happen. >> or does not still happen today. >> we are broadcasting today from fort lewis college in durango, colorado, the community is reclaiming columbus day and
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turning it into a day to celebrate indigenous peoples culture, language, music, and other traditions. they're holding a real history of the americas day. for lewis college was once a military fort, later turned into an indian boarding school and then turned state public school. due to a century-old promise made by the state of colorado, the college waives the tuition costs for all its native american students. today the college awards approximately 16% of the baccalaureate degrees earned by native american students in the nation. the waiver has changed the lives of thousands of native american students and in many ways, has come to define the college. but now it is being challenged at a time of state budget constraints. for lewis college graduates more native americans than any four- year college in the u.s. we're joined by three guests involved with the real history of the americas day.
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esther belin is a writing instructor here at fort lewis college, and a member of the navajo nation as well as an indigenous activist. she is a poet, won the american book award for her book of poetry. shirena trujillo long is coordinator of el centro de muchos colores at fort lewis college, and chair of the real history of the americas committee. and we are joined by noel altaha, a student coordinator for today's event, a member of the white mountain apache tribe and a senior here at fort lewis college, majoring in psychology and minoring in native american and indigenous studies. we welcome you all to "democracy now!" let's begin with shirena trujillo long. talk about this day, how you're trying to refrain: his day. >> this day here at our college is unique because we have some
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neat vibrant tribes and vibrant people still living that were taught columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. here on campus, we have done it for the last four years. it really started because we wanted to do something different on columbus day. we did not need that the day off to celebrate him and his discovery. we wanted to celebrate what we still have. >> what does it mean to say callista -- christopher columbus discovered the new world? >> very hurtful for many, many people. it is hurtful to say that we were discovered. i am not native american myself, but have lived in this region for my whole life. the stories i was always told was very clear in school who discovered who.
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it was not until i was a student here at fort lewis college also that i saw a different story. i wanted to be able to share that with others. that is why we started today. >> noel altaha, you are a senior, a member of the white mountain apache tribe. where is your family from in the u.s.? >> we are from the fort apache indian reservation in arizona. before there were state lines and borders, my people came from the whitewater area. so it is part of my clan and identity. that is where they still are today. >> you are one of the major organizers of this day of events. what are you trying to convey? for people say, christopher columbus came and discovered america, what you talking about? tell a different story to us
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today. >> i am just here to share where i come from. for my tribe, it is really important to use your words wisely. there is a saying, "wear your ears," my grandma would say. the creator gave you two years and one out for reason, and listening is more important than talking sometimes. talking to my grandfather this morning, i said, i'm talking to amy goodman. he said, who? what tripe is she? you do come from a tribe. your ancestors came and we all come from a people, and that is part of our identity.
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my job is to be the vessel that allows others, those people with their stories were hidden and erased and silenced on this one day, to share an embrace that. >> esther belin, your with the navajo nation, a riding instructor here, but claimed poet. talk about this days meeting. talk about the federal holiday for the rest of the world. -- for the rest of the nation. >> i would have to align with noel altaha in terms of how we individually look at this day. you definitely can embrace the pain and the genocide that has been our history and foundation,
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and that is definitely a valid emotion, valid almost reaction for indigenous people. i think as you wrote an awareness and maturity anarchic -- as you grow an awareness and maturity and are given the opportunity to present, we have to go beyond that. what i mean by that, individually we go through our own healing. we don't have a healing process in this country called the united states. there is no platform, and a medium, no expectation of that -- no medium, no expectation of that. as tribal people, that has been part of our world. just like noel said, we see everyone as coming from a tribe whether they acknowledge it or not. it is super important for us to
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start that healing process and then as well to talk about it. and to guide other people around their own trauma, which is legitimate and historical and valid as the pain where some people have no idea where it came from. that discovery -- to give articulation to that is so powerful. it is so emotional. as i use the english language, i see myself as an interpreter. i have been chosen this route. i have been chosen for this time to use that language to speak for others better in a void or in a trauma that they have no articulation. i think that is the major reason
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i have been involved in this event, because we get to celebrate those articulations, celebrate that pain and legitimize it as real. and whether we can include everybody or nine, we definitely have that the motion that more are coming to support. >> we're talking with esther belin of the navajo nation, noel altaha white apache or white mountain apache, and shirena trujillo long, hispana, here in fort lewis college in durango, celebrating the day of the americas today. we will be back in a moment. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we are broadcasting from fort
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lewis college. for lewis college and the four corners as we continue our 100- city tour. tonight we will be at the opera house. in utah. and fort lewis college graduates more native americans than any four-year college in the united states. it is a non-tribal college. we're joined by three of the members of this community. two have organized real history of the americas, alternative day of events today. we're joined by shirena trujillo long who is one of the longtime organizers of this and also joined by noel altaha, a senior here at fort lewis college, a very active at today's events,
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and esther belin, an instructor of writing and a member of the navajo nation. esther belin, i was wondering if you could read from your poetry from "the belly of the beast." i said a wrong. >> i have been questioned about the title many of the times. it is "from the belly of my duty." and stems from this idea of not only [indiscernible] but the idea of of all of these words were circulating inside of me in terms of wind and moister and breath. when they came out, i wanted them to be a contribution and not take away from our ideas, i guess, of what our people are.
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so i am going to read an excerpt of a peace. a graduate from the california university of berkeley as an undergrad and asked to present the senior speech. i had no idea what i was going to say because i was really conflicted most of might undergrad years in terms of what my presence was at the university as an indigenous student, a single most of my family -- seeing how much to my family was living in poverty. my mother was working two jobs. i thought, what am i doing here and why are people paying me to read books? this is part of that. surviving in this place called the united states is possible in possible for those who take it seriously if our japanese, i would be a [indiscernible]
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i am second generation of reservation. the mother comes from the land of enchantment, now also the land of poverty, drugs, a literacy, and confusion my mother, like many japanese during world war ii, was relocated off the res to a federally run boarding school in riverside, california, usa my mother presides still angelic among yellow brown haze, indigenous and immigrant smog in los angeles skyscraping progress pushing her home i am sure when you were young, your history books told you all about indians or i am sure when you're young, you saw indians on tv you saw me on tv indian princes, bloodthirsty
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braves, stoic chiefs, and grateful drunk now i am sure when you were young, your fifth grade teacher could not tell you why man's work on cars and school buses and drank beer and play pool they have friends named buffalo joe they laughed a lot and yelled a lot and called white men chicken shit instead of ours all weekend and sat in the back at church their shame silenced and anger roareed you and you did not want to be like them or know anyone like them. or loved anyone like them again when i was young, i saw men as father as a grown woman, i see my father and me, the company, sitting in a bar silencing the
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war cry of my mother's corrupt [indiscernible] numbing the wound deep in my valley of cowboys and indians recycling the memory of cold mountain fever. >> esther belin, reading from her poetry book "from the belly of my beauty." esther, if you can talk about what it meant to grow, as you say, off res, and what it means for you to live on the reservation, which go back to visit. >> i am a byproduct of the federal relocation and termination era in this country. so i grew up really living in two worlds and the los angeles area, and embraced every bit of that culture, which i lived i
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guess in a poor neighborhood. but always telling we had that connection, right? my parents spoke navajo and we eight navajo food and our worldview really was that navajo world view. in terms of our placement in school -- our mom trained as from day one, when you walk out that door, people will be against you. they will be against your thoughts, against your worldview. you really have to be prepared because they will challenge things about who you are. and you need to know the other side in order to survive. she and my father both had really traumatic experiences in boarding school. that was day one where she taught us. a >> and what were those expenses in boarding school?
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-- what were those experiences in boarding school? >> for her, my mom always considers herself lucky in that she went to a boarding school with her sisters. at night after dark, they would talk to each other and comfort each other. during the day they were isolated. they were forced and ridiculed, traumatized around the english language. the idea i said earlier about articulation, of course it is so hard for trouble people to articulate that. when someone is yelling and forcing you to be creative or have a say, and you do not have any grasp of the language but in context -- so she -- >> the boarding school said you
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could not speak in navajo? >> they forced you to speak the english language. they forced her to choose a name. for a while they thought my mother had tuberculosis so she was isolated for almost a year. she never had tuberculosis. all of these traumas to her and her identity, thinking that something is wrong. that's the way they cook is wrong in the foods they like. they had to eat those foods. my mom's still cannot eat mayonaise to this day because it makes her sick. they had to learn how to back him and set tables and the proper young women -- vaccuum and set tables and learn to be proper young women. >> and you went to boarding school? >> i did. and when to an indian high school. my time in boarding school was not a dramatic experience as
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that of -- my boarding school was not as dramatic and expressive as my family. the fort apache indian reservation has a boarding school, too. my mom went to a foster home. my time and boarding school, i remember walking across campus and hearing people speak their language and then walking to class. and hearing others speak their language. i was like, what is that? it was their native tongue. when i was 6, my mom took me to oklahoma city and i spoke at to pretty much before i spoke english but i remember being traumatized when i was 6 and my teacher laughed at me because i did not know the rest of the world called an apple and apple.
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to me it was [indiscernible] it was so funny to me that english is so backwards to the rest of the languages that i feel makes sense. so when esther belin talks about that trauma, it may not have happened to me personally, but i feel it collectively. esther belin talks about, "i am because we are." that speaks to me. i cannot speak on behalf of everyone, but i can speak on behalf of my experiences and stories that others share with me. >> can you share a message to people who are watching this? in apache? >> [speaking apache] >> tell us what it means.
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>> basically, i just introduced myself in my native tongue. sometimes in english there are no words to express what it means to be [indiscernible] we call ourselves "the people" not the apache. we come from this land, this. , the animals and the earth and each other. when you come from a people, you learn about respect. sometimes that is limited in the english language. sometimes you have to express in a ceremony, you have to express it by showing compassion, by dancing, by singing, by just being with someone and listening more than speaking. >> shirena trujillo long, how do you relate to this area of tremendous diversity of culture
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and this program you helped to establish here at fort lewis college on this day that others observe as columbus day? >> i would be half hispanic. in this region and the southwest we would call [indiscernible] coyotes. not the ones who are smuggling are half andat we half. my mother is german american on her side. very hispanic american right here from this region as well. we have a saying in this area about the border did not cross bus. we did not cross the border, the border crossed us. in this region, hell with it at the history of the area, the way that this event speaks to me, it feels so good even in a short
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time to talk about it. we're giving voice to those who are not voiceed. it is how you fit in the puzzle. >> esther belin, a message in navajo. >> i will do an introduction as well. [speaking navajo] when we do even our basic introduction, we acknowledge all of our grandparents. for me, i am related to people in my mother's clan and through my father, and sort of a distant relative to them. i acknowledge my grandparents. it goes through the mother grew
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so we have four clans. that is how we no answer to position ourselves within our community -- that is how we know and position ourselves within our community. our clan is an adopted clan. there are two different stories i've heard, but one of them is our major chiefs, his wife, as they were traveling to and from santa fe many times, it was stopped a different indian tribes on the way. one of them was pueblo. it would bring things to trade like blankets or corn in terms of harvest. they adopted his wife. she was the first [indiscernible] from that area. we are descendants of her. that makes sense because we're
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part of the checkerboard region on the eastern side of the navajo area. >> thank you all for being with us, esther belin, read from "the belly of my duty," her book of poetry. she teaches writing here at fort lewis in durango. she was also joined by shirena trujillo long, one of those who has established this special day called "real histories of the americas." i also want to thank noel altaha, a student corner for real history of the americas day here at fort lewis college, a senior majoring in psychology and minoring in native american studies. when we come back, we will be joined by dennis banks from new york where he was attending the russell tribunal on palestine. this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. on this day that some call columbus day, others talk about
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it in a different way, wanting to bring out the real history of the americas. stay with us. ♪ [music break] ♪ [music break]
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>> this is "democracy now!,", the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we're on the road in durango, colorado at fort lewis college, which graduates more native americans than any four-year college in the united states. we're going to new york or dennis banks is, the legendary native american activist from the ojibwa tribe. in 1968, he co-founded the american indian movement. a year later, he took part in the occupation of alcatraz
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island in california. 1972, assisted and activist groups across the rest to draw attention. aim took over the indian affairs building. in 1973, the american indian movement took over and occupied wounded knee on the pine ridge indian reservation for 71 days. earlier this year, he led a cross country walk from alcatraz to washington calling for the release of imprisoned native american activist leonard peltier has been held for many many years. dennis banks joins us in new york. we will get to palestine in a moment. as we broadcast today on the federal holiday known as columbus day, that others call indigenous peoples that, dennis banks, can you share your experience as a native american in this country? >> first of all, i have been
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watching your program this morning with these young people from the college and i want to say i feel great that the young people are really getting up there and speaking. i am almost 80 years old. i feel like i can sit back and retire in say, "look, our young people are taking over." that is what i like to see. i am very impressed with the students you had on there this morning. but to say, are we still talking about columbus day? it has been four years since i talk to you. we should be talking -- i don't want to talk about columbus, but i will talk about this day. and south dakota, which i thought would be the last to
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adopt the day like this as day of anative american debt, but have proclaimed today as native american day. it is a day for observation, celebration, looking at the contributions native americans that may not only in south dakota, minnesota but all around the country. that is what is they should be about. i don't want to reflect about the loss to explore they have towns and after him -- i don't reflect on the lost explorer. their towns and after him. menu were bent on murdering the most men who were bent on murdering our people. but they're honoring those people. i want to look at the more positive things. i am glad that you are carrying
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this day. i've spoke to you maybe two or three times. >> dennis banks, for people not familiar with these boarding schools that native americans were put into over the years, can you describe what your experience was? where did you live? where were you sent? what happened to you in these schools growing up? >> i was in the boarding schools when punishment was very severe if he ran away. this was during the early 1940's. i was taken a boarding school was 4 years old, taken away from my mother and father and grandparents who had stayed with us most of the time. i was abruptly taken away and put into a boarding school 300 miles away from my home. the beatings began immediately.
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almost de-indianizing program began. there were trying to destroy the culture and the person -- there were trying to destroy the indian-ness in them, kill the indian and save the man. that is a description of what this policy was about. >> the government ran the schools? >> the u.s. government -- they ran a lot of the schools themselves, but they also delegated a lot of it to the christian communities, catholics, a episcopalians had some, with friends had some, methodists. -- lutherans had some, methodists. there was complicity between the
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church and the state to take care of indian problems, solving the indian problem and try to change -- to line >> where had you lived and where we brought to school? >> i lived on an indian reservation in northern minnesota. i was taken to a boarding school 300 miles away to the south, southernmost part of minnesota called pike stone indian school. i stayed six years. >> how did you communicate with your family? how often did to get to see them? did you get to talk to them? >> never. they cut off all communications with your parents i found out later that a lot of letters -- i stayed over six years and was
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communicating with my -- and not communicating with my parents at all. they finally let us go home for six years. we could not speak the language. we could speak only english. there were severe punishment for running away from that kind of system. i kept running away almost once a week from the schools. they would catch me and bring back, beat me. it was terrible. there were other kinds of punishment we went through as well. that kind of experience i still remember on days like today. i have a friend who have been my friend for over 70 years. we remember those days. you stuck together. a lot of people stuck together. that is what saved a lot of us from terrible consequences of
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speaking. eventually, they kept beating me down and i kept -- i started learning english and learning to the presidents were, learning my lessons. they let me go home for 30 days. six years. i ask my mother, why didn't you write to me question she says, i did. i never question beyond that. the city to another boarding school in north dakota. it was to enter miles away. i was there for three years and after that, the same thing. only english. corporal punishment. then i went home for another 30 days. as my mother, why didn't you write to me question she said, i did. they sami to another boarding school in south dakota further away. another 400 miles.
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i kept running away from these schools. i finally ran away from the last one and made it home. i wanted to say, amy, this not only happen to people in north dakota and south dakota and minnesota, but all across the country. thousands upon thousands of young students, native students, were taken from their homes and some were forcibly taken and some because of economic times allowed it to happen, but there were always taken away from parents and separated for long periods of time. all of a sudden, i lost my family relationship with my mother. i lost that feeling with my mother because i thought she had abandoned me. it wasn't until almost just three years ago when my daughter was in the documentary -- was
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doing a documentary and they found in the federal repository records in kansas city and said, "dad, we found your school records." i said, "bring them back." so she brought them back and i started looking into said, "bad, we also found something else." she handed me a shoebox. there were letters from my mother. and started opening them up and reading them. the second one, there was a letter to the superintendent of the school bus said "here is $5, police in my children back home to me." i cannot finish reading these letters because i was crying. when my mother passed away, i want to bury her but there's no
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emotions with me. going there this time, i was reading the letters. i was at a chair by her grave. and started reading these letters. i knew she loved me. even now, it is a hard experience to tell people. i tell people because it was a terrible, terrible experience. but it failed, failed miserably. even today, i mean, i know some of the language. i don't know all the language. i know a lot of songs, which came back to me. but the language, it seems like you want to say something and you remember the beatings and stuff like that. but it was terrible.
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>> dennis banks, you shared the story of your growing up and the separation from their culture on friday night at the opening of the russell tribunal. i want to ask you about the russell tribunal and palestine, ye have become a part of this, and just what this is that to place this weekend where you are right now. >> the russell tribunal was a collective of people across this country in europe and alice walker was on the tribunal, angela davis and harry belafonte came to give advice to the tribunal. there were other people there. we came together to look at the conditions in palestine and what is going on there.
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and what we found was really troubling for me. i began to see a massive amount of military aid going to israel from the united states. i started having trouble with that is, how could this government, my government how could it look the other way when so much damage is being done to palestine by the israeli military? >> dennis banks, i wanted to share with you the comments of one of the people at the tribunal. on sunday, palestinian history and political science professors aleh -- saleh hamayel. >> whenever a colonial settler situation never used the
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natives as their force, their fate was always genocide. total, physical extermination. now that was not easy to do in the middle of the 20th-century. fortunately for us, the done is to project came in 1948. it was too late to duplicate what happened for the indians of north america. >> your response, dennis banks, to the palestinian political science professor? >> i think -- his presence is very strong. i listened intently to what he was saying. after we had a chance to look at the comparisons of this
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happening in palestine now as to what happened with us during the 1930's and 1940's. it is the same pattern. i said that on the very first day when this -- what is happening to those people is what we went through during the last century. it is, unfortunately, it is the same people. it is the u.s. government with funneled money to israel and then it goes to hurt the palestinian people. >> dennis banks, thank you for being with us today as we conclude this day of programming. we're broadcasting from fort lewis college in durango, colorado. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to or
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